Kyoto Animation released a second teaser trailer for the first part of Free! The Final Stroke this morning. Coming to Japanese theaters on Sept. 22, the film will be Free!’s penultimate release ahead of Part 2’s April 22 premiere.
The two films will be released in Japan under the same name. While there’s no word on a US release date yet, we can expect the films to make their way to the states with an English dub given the series’ popularity. The previous three seasons, two original films, and several more recap films have all featured a recurring cast of popular English voice actors over the years.
What is Free! The Final Stroke?
Free! is loosely based on Kōji Ōji’s series of light novels titled High Speed!. The series follows the boys of the Iwatobi Swim Club as they compete regionally and nationally against friends and rivals. The third season saw most of the main cast enter college and struggle to move onto the world stage.
The new film will likely take place immediately after, seeing as the show ended during the countdown to a high-stakes race.
Kyoto Animation and Animation DO share credits on each of the franchises’ releases. Animation DO is an affiliate studio established in 2000 to assist Kyoto Animation, and the smaller, Osaka-based studio fulfilled a similar role to a contractor for the parent company. This will be the studio’s first release since Kyoto Animation absorbed the studio in 2020.
Free! The Final Stroke was originally announced in January 2019 with a summer 2020 release date. After the infamous arson attack in July 2019, Kyoto Animation announced the film would be delayed. While we don’t know how the pandemic affected the studio, Kyoto Animation finally made an update on the project in April of this year, surprising us with the news of two release dates.
Anime News Network’s translation details further announcements. A remake of OLDCODEX’s season 3 OP, titled “Heading to Over–Version:Free,” will serve as the film’s theme. OLDCODEX is voice actor Tatsuhisa Suzuki’s rock band; Suzuki performs as Makoto Tachibana in the series. The announcement also details some of the paraphernalia fans will receive from Japanese theaters.
Fans can watch an unofficial translation of the trailer on ANiME USAK’s YouTube channel.